In today’s consumer-driven world, there’s an onslaught of competing products that have identical features but differing brand names. We can’t help but wonder what it is that makes us love certain brands; why are we loyal to some but not others?

To better understand brand fidelity, Rakuten Marketing conducted a study and has released the findings in a new report – Brand Affinity: What Makes People Love the Brands They Love.

Our research included a US consumer survey with more than 1,500 respondents, Rakuten Marketing campaign performance data and in-person interviews with consumers.

Through the analysis, we uncovered that there’s a significant connection between the well-established psychological theory, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and consumers’ feelings and actions towards brands. When this theory was applied to real consumer shopping behaviours, we uncovered a hierarchy that includes various levels of brand affinity such as awareness, infatuation, fidelity and evangelism.

Our data shows that as consumers transition through the various levels of brand affinity, they are likely to come back and repeat purchase. Of those who have made two purchases from a brand, 45% will purchase again, while 66% of those who have purchased five times will purchase again. A customer’s value to the brand increases more than nine times from their first purchase to the twelfth, where they finally demonstrate brand fidelity and evangelism.

It seems intuitive that customers are more valuable the more they purchase, and we know that it is more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one, but customer retention isn’t always a top priority for brands. This data demonstrates that brands might have missed revenue opportunities if they aren’t investing enough in their existing customers and building loyalty.

Our advice to brands is to remember that consumers, first and foremost, are human beings. And as much as data and technology can get you in front of the right consumers, you also need to invest in creating digital experiences that speak to who they are as people.

Check out the full report to learn more!